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Your News Titans ready for Bedford battle

Rotherham Titans have endured a tough week’s training in anticipation of a very physical battle with Bedford Blues on Saturday; kick-off 2pm at Clifton Lane.

Andre Bester has picked arguably his strongest side as he hopes to kick-start the play-off campaign with a victory. In stage 1 of the season Rotherham beat Bedford 40-32 at Clifton Lane, collecting the try bonus point along the way. Something similar would be most welcome, but Bedford who finished runners-up in the league will no doubt provide stiff opposition.

Of the 31 previous encounters between the sides, it is Bedford who holds the upper hand with 18 victories. However, one of Rotherham Titans greatest achievements came against Bedford 12 years ago.

Rotherham beat Bedford over a two-legged play-off to attain Premiership rugby for the first time.

Although a great memory for Rotherham, that is in the past and if they want to realise their ambition of a third tilt in the Premiership, the hard work starts on Saturday.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s encounter Titans head coach Andre Bester explained, “This is crunch time! This is what we have been building up to all season and we won’t shy away from the importance of it.

“It is the first group of matches that is important, not just the Bedford game. The first three matches are very important in terms of positioning yourself. Nothing is terminal, but it can become terminal if we have issues against Bedford and do not respond in the right way.

“We need to put ourselves in a position after the first 3 play-off matches so we give ourselves a chance of making the semi-final. That’s the only thing that we are working towards; giving ourselves a window of opportunity to have a crack at this. That’s why during the season we rotated heavily and why we planned things the way we did. We now have a fully fit squad that’s eager to get out there and give it their best shot.

“We’ve pick the full team for this game and we’ve worked terribly hard for what we want to do. We know more than anything else it’s going to be a mental challenge, the top six inches will determine the outcome.

Our intensity has picked up massively since the London Scottish game and all the players are aware this is the business end of the season.”

Titans: 15 Stephen Hamilton, 14 Tom Foden, 13 Dave McCall, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Garry Law, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Sam Dickinson (Capt.), 5 Barney Maddison, 6 Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 Semisi Taulava.

Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Talite Vaioleti, 19 Adrian Griffiths, 20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Matt Rhodes, 22 Byron Godfrey.

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